Snagajob Rebounds, w/ CEO Mathieu Stevenson

Snagajob has enjoyed its success, but it has also experienced churn and Snag market confusion. Mathieu Stevenson helps us cut through all of that with an insightful and raw conversation.

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Intro (1s):

Hide your kids, lock the doors. You're listening to HR's most dangerous podcast. Chad Sowash and Joel Cheesman are here to punch the recruiting industry, right where it hurts, complete with breaking news, brash opinion and loads of snark. Buckle up boys and girls, it's time for the Chad & Cheese podcast.

Joel (21s):

Yeah, what's up everybody. You're listening to the Chad and Cheese podcast. I'm your co host Joel Cheesman joined as always with my fearless co host Chad, Sowash.

Chad (31s):

Well Hello.

Joel (33s):

And today we are happy to welcome Mathieu Stevenson. Newly minted CEO of snag a job, man.

Mathieu (45s):

That's a good French accent, I like it. Thank you for having me.

Joel (48s):

First off, Fabio Rosati has to be one of the coolest names ever. We've actually met. You mentioned it on the podcast Do you have to have a cool name to lead snag a job? Is that one of the that's right?

Mathieu (59s):

That's rights, that's a, that's a prerequisite.

Joel (1m 1s):

Excellent. Well, give us a little, a little bit about you, man.

Mathieu (1m 4s):

You know, per personally I half French, half American grew up overseas as a kid and came back to the, to the U S and then today, I'm married. Wife is Australian who actually met in Dubai and I've got three little kids around. Yeah, I've, I've, I've been a few places over the years. And then professionally, I basically spent the first half of my career at a consulting firm called McKinsey and then left to go do a quasi startup called HomeAway, which is now part of Expedia called VRBO, and then just fell in love with sort of technology and marketplaces.

Mathieu (1m 38s):

And then I got introduced to snag a job through a, a friend who knew Fabio Rosati. Who's now our executive chairman. And when I sort of heard about the mission and the vision for the company, I remember getting off the phone, I was supposed to talk to Fabio for 30 minutes. We talked for an hour and a half. I got off the phone and told my wife, even though I promised her, we wouldn't leave Texas. And just said, we've got to go do this. So that was a, that was two, two years ago. I think I drove, I guess a year and a half ago.

Joel (2m 7s):

So first question, before we get to snag a job, you lucky you, you joined the company that services hourly workers and this meteorite called COVID hits the world. What's what's what was that like? What's the current state of hourly work and sort of what's your near future view of what's going to happen?

Mathieu (2m 28s):

Yeah, yeah. As you can imagine, I think different from maybe, you know, the great recession this time around, I think hourly work was the hardest to get hit and hit first. And I think as, also, as we're now seeing the first reemerge, but, you know, overall it's sort of the trough, like hourly jobs were down 50%. They've now since recovered. So they're down about 34% year over year, but we really just had this fundamental shift in sort of labor across sectors, right?

Mathieu (2m 58s):

Like, you know, retail, restaurant hospitality, incredibly hard hit and sectors like grocery warehousing and even sort of on demand or gig that have really grown and upwards of 40% or more just since the beginning of March.

Joel (3m 12s):

Yeah. So what's the future look like?

Mathieu (3m 14s):

Well, I think, I think we're already starting to see the signs in my mind of a pretty strong U shaped recovery, you know, very similar to, I think what we've been seeing in China, if you think about China as being sort of a proxy a couple of months out. And so just since the beginning of June jobs are up more than 11%. 88% of our clients and firms who typically sort of hire over the summer are still planning on doing so, you know, we've seen a number of sort of our core clients in restaurant and retail.

Mathieu (3m 47s):

Who've now started to rehire again. And even if you think about like activity levels in our ATS, those are actually now back to pre-crisis levels. Wow. And so I think we're seeing a number of things that say, Hey, this is pretty encouraging long way to go, but pretty encouraging in terms of the rebound for hourly.

Chad (4m 6s):

So talk about rebound. You guys, actually, You put out this, new, is it, is it like a suite? What is it? First and foremost, we saw it come out and I thought, wow, this is, this is pretty cool. And then we haven't heard anything about it since then, number one, and number two, I go to the website and I hit employers and I would expect this like big glossy rebound to pop out and smack me in the face, but I couldn't find it anywhere. So tell me if, was this kind of like a, a flash in the pan kind of a thing that you're talking about rebound, is it a suite of services as it's something that you guys are going to carry forward?

Chad (4m 42s):

What what's it all about?

Mathieu (4m 44s):

Yeah. Yeah. So, so it is, it's basically a solution made up of three different services. It's in sort of a recognition that even though you're seeing this economic recovery and this U shaped recovery in my mind, they're sort of like three things that employers are trying to navigate. One is just the fundamental, like scale of the rehiring, right there, there are an awful lot of companies that are rehiring, you know, almost entire companies or entire staff and the challenges in an environment where you're having to use a phase rehiring approach.

Mathieu (5m 17s):

You know, how do you even reengage or continue to engage your furloughed workers who you can't rehire back immediately. Two probably the biggest thing that I continue to hear is just around the uncertainty and demand, right? It's easy for me to say, Oh, well, we're following a China like recovery curve. If you're a local operator, you you're just trying to navigate, like, how do I like what's the right staffing level? Cause if I get that wrong, I have a huge cost overhang.

Mathieu (5m 48s):

So that uncertainty and demand is a huge one. And then the last one is the one that I think, I think people talk about a lot, which is just the sort of safety concerns, but on the part of workers and employers and how that influences for the hiring process. And so in our mind, we tried to say, okay, how do we solve those? And it's not, it's not necessarily just a June thing, right? I mean, it's something that people are going to be navigating for the next six months. So one, we launched a new offering called talent pools, which basically says, how do you enable employers to pick up shifts or to fill shifts almost on demand, right?

Mathieu (6m 25s):

Like last minute you realize you've got more demand than you expected. How do you fill a shift? This allows them to basically tap into existing employees, furloughed, and alumni as well as sort of a snag a job qualified worker pool. Okay. So we're, you know, you say, okay, I don't have to rehire everybody. I can assess things. And when I have a demand, let me just go and fill it to sort of prebuilt hiring campaign.

Mathieu (6m 56s):

So again, you know, if you think about it, like markets are gonna reopen at different stages and you're going to see recovery in different ways. Go ahead. And just pre-build your, your campaigns, meaning I've got 10 different kinds of roles I want to hire across 20 markets. And basically as you see the need, you just flip the switch for those roles in the markets that you need to really do hire one and where you want so much more sort of targeted.

Chad (7m 21s):

Gotcha. So from a scaling standpoint, I mean that, that's where I think we overall, whether it's high volume or even if it's enterprise, nobody saw COVID coming. They got slapped in the face with it. I know obviously employee levels are down dramatically, but yet that's going to snap back. So therefore we have to understand scale better. And the only way we can scale better is through technology. So my, my question to you about the talent pools piece, is that kind of like, is this an app work?

Chad (7m 51s):

You know, I can just, if, if I'm at a restaurant and I'm a manager and I know that I need people, I can pull it out and I can start to, to add jobs into how does it, how does that actually work in a practical sense for the person on the ground?

Mathieu (8m 4s):

Yeah, so we had sort of a permutation of it really over the last 18 months or so. And there it was basically an app. So let's say you're, let's say you're a restaurant manager and your dishwasher calls in sick, or, you know, you just have a scheduling gap, you'd go on the app. You basically tap like dishwasher on your phone. And we match you to a qualified dishwasher who shows up. So it is, it is on-demand in the truest sense, just like getting an Uber driver, you don't review resumes, you trust sort of our algorithms and our qualification, that the right person is going to show up in about 95% of the time.

Mathieu (8m 44s):

If you think about like from the customer satisfaction scores, we get that right. Really now the sort of talent pools is just saying like, Hey, we recognize, in some cases you want to do that with your existing employees or your alumni or furloughed employees. That's incredibly valuable as a way to sort of keep them engaged with your brand and now, but also going forward, right. Even post rebound. Like I think it's just a different way to think about how you manage and engage talent.

Joel (9m 9s):

So I want to add some, some context to how we got here and, you know, Chad and I have been, I've been in the industry for a long time. You a much shorter period, but snag a job used to be sort of this unsung hero in the hourly space. We talked about, you know, monster and indeed, but, but things seemed to be really chugging along nicely. And then 2018 hit CEO, Peter Harrison, who a lot of people knew was, was gone. They launched a, which was an app sort of a, a platform like an Upwork or whatnot.

Joel (9m 40s):

And then Fabio comes in who has Upwork experience. And then you come in and, and I think Chad and I thought, well, you know, they're gonna reset or try to figure it out. And then the news comes out, you guys raised $8 million and you come on. And I think we were kind of thrown back like, Holy shit. Like, is this a renewal or is this is, so my question is in light of the context, you have $8 million now looks like you're going to grow the company. I'm curious about Brian Schmidt, who's on as your chief revenue officer, he has TripAdvisor experience.

Joel (10m 14s):

And he was at Google, I believe that's right. So, so what, $8 million new CEO, like, what's the plan what's going to bring this company back to life?

Mathieu (10m 23s):

Yeah. I mean, maybe, maybe I'll address the 2018. And again, hindsight is 20/20 on these things. And it predates me, my sense is, you know, when you're a couple hundred person organization, focus is important. And I think, you know, my sort of reflection is, you know, Peter and others, incredibly smart individuals, but we were probably trying to do too much relative to the size of the business. And so part of, part of what Fabio really sort of stepped in to try and do was say, Hey, really sort of, what is the focus for the company?

Mathieu (10m 57s):

What are our core businesses like, where do we invest? And then the second, which was the reality of the situation in 2018 is frankly, we had a cost structure that we couldn't support even in a, even in a high growth environment. And so there was, there was a pretty powerful reckoning in 2018, right? There's no way to sort of sugar coat that. But I think, I think now I think you'd say, you know, I'm really credit goes to Fabio, right? And, and Upwork is, is a pretty like relevant analogy for, I think what we are trying to create, right?

Mathieu (11m 28s):

We've got two core businesses. One is the marketplace, right? The that, you know, grew up in the 2000's and then the software business, right. Which is, which is a couple of ATS's. And for the marketplace, like for us, it is really becoming a true on demand marketplace for full time, part time and gig based shift work very much akin to an Upwork model. Meaning, you know, you as a worker, you have a profile just this week, actually we're launching public profile. So now hourly workers will have a public profile akin to like what you or I might have via LinkedIn, but much more specific to hourly.

Mathieu (12m 7s):

And that enables you in some sense to like market yourself in a way that you've never been able to do. And for you to be able to receive right fit opportunities, just as much as you sort of seek them out in the traditional, like a job board.

Joel (12m 19s):

Sort of a LinkedIn for the hourly workforce.

Mathieu (12m 22s):

That's right. That's right. Because if you think about it like this, this is where it's really different to, in my experience, from like a HomeAway, you know, when you're looking for a job, whether you're passive or active, there's not a lot of serendipity in the search, right? Like nobody enjoys looking through 50 jobs. It's not like looking at a vacation house that you're interested in.

Joel (12m 41s):

That's a wild Friday night in my house. I don't know.

Mathieu (12m 45s):

Sadly, I probably do enjoy it, but you'd hope you'd have, that'd be the case. You guys are lame. But, but for me, for me, the opportunity has always been like, how do we put people in the right fit roles? Like using the profiles. You're now able to better link people to through true, like machine learning, to be able to say, Hey, here's really what we think are the best roles. And, you know, we, we now surface the five best roles for you.

Mathieu (13m 16s):

And by the way, two of those might just be invitations to go ahead and interview, right? Cause again, that's, that's incredibly powerful for somebody. And so it's a much more akin to what Upwork has done, but in our case, in what is, what is it the end of the day, lightly skilled labor you technology can actually play a much greater role in automating them, just like we do on the gig based shift side where the literally there's no human interaction you could today do that on a full time hire set. I don't think the market is ready to completely eliminate the interview, but I'm actually pretty confident.

Mathieu (13m 48s)